Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Parenting

We have been parenting for over a year now, but this last weekend definitely added a new meaning to parenting for me.

Parenting is generally awesome and fun and full of giggles. On a daily basis it is also full of making decisions about how to raise your child, from teaching healthy habits and good manners to figuring out how to discipline.

Parenting is also about putting the needs of your child above the desires of yourself. Generally that comes pretty naturally since no one wants a crying child around and as much as sitting and reading a book in a quiet room sounds nice, you clearly aren't going to leave your child in another room for several hours without food or drink and a dirty diaper.

Sometimes parenting challenges you to step up and put aside those desires and make life as easy and happy as possible for your child. Like this weekend for example.

Every summer, for my whole life, a bunch of my family meets up at Lake McConaughy in Nebraska to go camping and swimming and hang out. It is absolutely one of my favorite weeks of the year and I love being out there floating on the lake and catching up with everyone.

This year was an especially big year since a lot of family that isn't always able to come to the lake were going and one of my cousins was bringing out her two four month old identical twin boys that I still have not been able to meet yet. Vander also has a little cousin his age and I was so excited to see them play together and enjoy getting dirty in the sand. I was pretty well stoked for the trip.

Then Friday morning Vander was acting grumpy, where as he is generally pretty happy in the mornings, a little clingy, but happy. He felt a little warm and had a very slight fever (99ish), but he has been working on this third and fourth molars so we weren't too concerned and sent him off to daycare. At 10:45 I got a call that Vander had a fever of 102.3 and was pulling at his right ear so I needed to go pick him up. I was already planning to leave at noon to get the car loaded for camping, but instead I left even a little earlier and after he napped some more took Vander to the doctor.

He was diagnosed with a moderate ear infection in his right ear and with a raw, sore throat. They gave us amoxicillin and told us to keep them updated if anything else happened. Based on how sad and out of it Vander was before the doctor I was pretty sure we weren't going to be going camping, but after the diagnosis we decided to at least wait until Saturday and see how he slept and dealt with the medicine.

The next day, after not especially sleeping well, Vander took an early nap and we figured camping wasn't meant to be since Vander wouldn't be up for having much fun. We definitely made the right decision.

That afternoon we noticed spots on Vander's legs. My concern was he was having an allergic reaction to the amoxicillin. We called the doctor and he said since he wasn't itching it and it wasn't acting like hives he didn't think it was a reaction but to keep an eye on it. After bath time we saw blisters pop up on his feet and we knew we were in the clear for an allergic reaction since that meant it was hand, foot and mouth disease, which had been going around daycare.

I did my WebMD search and talked to the nurses line that night and then he doctor the next morning. He was relieved it wasn't an allergic reaction and told us about how prevalent the disease is, but that he shouldn't be contagious after his fever was over.

Vander has ended up with terrible blisters on his feet, a couple on his hands and a rash in his arms, legs and genitals. There is really nothing you can do for it besides give painkillers to relieve the uncomfortableness. Vander has been a rock star and seems like he has been almost totally fine the last two days. This weekend there was a lot of sleeping and an especially lot of cuddle time. That was the best part, and also how we knew he was so sick, because he was cuddling and sitting in our laps instead of running around like the busy toddler he normally is.

In the end, although it was a sad decision, and a bit of a tough choice, it was good that we didn't go to Lake McConaughy. Dylan said Friday I could go out by myself, but I absolutely didn't want to leave my poor little munchkin without his mommy! It would have been miserable to take him and try to deal with the heat and dirt on top of a child who is already in bad shape.

That is exactly what parenting is some days, making the hard choices and making this cute little bundle of love your number one priority.

 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

My Introduction to Toddlerhood

The last couple weeks have been a lot of work. While parenting a toddler can definitely be more enjoyable, it is certainly a lot more effort than parenting a baby.

And we have a full on toddler in this house.

First let me mention that everyone thinks Vander is two years old. I cannot take him out shopping without everyone guessing he is around two years old. I think I forgot to mention in his twelve month post that he is in the 94th percentile for height, so he is close to the same height as the average two year old (and I swear he grew another half inch this weekend...).

Tantrums? Check! We have the tantrums of a two year old already. Right after Vander's birthday, Dylan, Vander and I went to Toys R Us. This was really Vander's first trip where he could interact with the place. I had so much fun looking at all of the toys and getting excited for what all he may be in to. Vander had two tantrums over us dragging him away from some totally random toys. He is excellent at tantrums. Bonelessness when he deems appropriate. He can swing his arms straight up really fast so that you cannot pick him up (although I quickly learned to pick him up by his body not his arms anymore). He goes straight as a board when you try to put him in his carseat sometimes. He arches his back and wails or bangs his head in frustration when you close the gate or don't let him play in the puppy water or drink from a beer bottle or what have you.

Taunting the dogs? Check! He says "Hi!" to them when we get home at the end of the day and then proceeds to chase them around whatever gated off area we all happen to be in trying to pet them. He is kind of, maybe, getting a little better at petting gently, but he really doesn't get a chance. And I don't blame the dogs for running when he is squealing after them. He also loves putting his feet on the dogs and I can't decide if he is trying to walk on them or pet them with his feet...

Smiling mischievously while doing the exact thing you are telling him not to do? Check! This little munchkin loves to go hide and giggle while you go look for him, preferably behind the blinds for the sliding glass door, which he is definitely not supposed to play with. He grins when he eats the rocks as you tell him "We need to leave the rocks out of our mouth."

Constant bumps and bruises? Check! Somehow Vander manages to walk really steadily and he falls well (without crying or damaging any part of himself) at home, but the second you take him out in public and let him walk on cement, he falls and gets a HUGE bruise on his forehead. Or he gets bruises you don't even know where they came from, since even though you put him to bed without bruises, he has them in the morning.

Everything that isn't actually a toy is way cooler than any toy? Check! He plays in the dogs' water, he chews on my flip flops, he plays with the tampons (still packaged obviously!), he wants to push his stroller all the time, he enjoys emptying the pantry and carrying around the balsamic vinegar, and he loves to play with the icebreaker mints container. As long as you didn't intentionally buy it for him, he will love it. The current main exceptions to this rule are the sand and bucket toys and pinwheels.

The world is an obstacle course? Check! Last weekend Vander mastered scooting down the stairs. Now he is constantly going up and down the stairs, all over the house. He also started crawling of top of step stools, his glider ottoman, into the refrigerator, etc.

The one thing that Vander is still not being your typical toddler on? Food! Besides the fact that he eats non-stop and he eats way more that most of the other kids (this week he had four whole graham crackers compared to 1-1.5 the other kids ate), he still eats everything. I would say he still prefers his vegetables and fruit over the carbs most of the time, or he will at least eat them evenly and he will eat a good amount of meat.

Wish us luck!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Thankful for Being a Working Mom

I recently came to the realization that I am glad I am not a stay at home mom.

This is a big step for me since I really struggled with being a working mom the first nine months of Vander's life and I hadn't really and fully realized it was the right choice for me until very recently.

I fully support whichever choice is right for each family and really appreciate people who are able to be stay at home parents. I just realized this is not the right choice for me.

This first came to light when we were in South Carolina. Around the sixth day of our trip, Dylan mentioned something along the line of realizing how much he appreciated daycare. I told him I had been thinking the same thing.

Even in an amazing place with so much to do, even with the help and support of my parents, sister and her boyfriend, Dylan and I were a little overwhelmed with how busy Vander can be!

When I mentioned this to my neighbor, she worded it in a way that made me feel much better about how I had felt. She said (paraphrasing here) that daycare teaches, entertains and nurtures our children during the middle of the day so that we parents have energy to take care of getting them ready for the day and breakfast and dinner and bathtime and bed time and still be able to love and play with our children.

I absolutely love spending time with Vander. He is the most entertaining person in my life; he is just so much fun! He loves doing new things; I can take him places easily. Most days go by too fast and I am sad when he is napping for so long since I am so anxious to go do something with him and I miss him.

However, some days feel a lot longer than others and some days I feel like I have done pretty much everything with Vander I can think of and it is only 2pm.

I fully believe it is a full time job to coordinate entertainment and education for a child all day every day! Which is why I pay for someone to do this for Vander five days a week. I have so much respect for what Vander's teachers do.

I switched jobs in April, which has been amazing. My commute is 10 minutes from daycare or home and my coworkers are so much fun to work with. Even better, all of them are women and most of them are parents themselves, so they fully understand the importance of work life balance and the unexpected absences.

My new job makes me feel so much better about my ability to parent since I can balance work and life more easily. Loving my job has made a huge difference in my acceptance and happiness with being a working mom.

It still isn't easy to leave Vander at daycare every day. While I have gotten over the guilt, I still miss him and wish I could spend more time with him. And as busy as he can be, it is hard to be at work for hours a day and still have the energy to be with Vander in the evenings.

No matter what there are pros and cons, but I am relieved to be in a position where I have a clearer conscience and feel more balanced as a person.

 

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